Council calls on government to return control of bus network to local authorities
Telford & Wrekin Council has called on the government to give control, planning and regulation of the local bus network where operators are only able to provide services under contract to the local authority.
At a meeting of Full Council yesterday (19 January), a motion, put forward by Councillor Richard Overton, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, enforcement and transport, called on the government see public transport as a key contributor to economic growth and give local authorities the control, planning and regulation of the local bus network.
The council agreed to write to the current Secretary of state for Transport and local Members of Parliament and ask them to support calls to improve local bus services in Telford and Wrekin.
Councillor Richard Overton, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, enforcement and transport, said: “Our residents and businesses continually tell us about the lack of reliable and affordable services. This impacts rural, urban and employment areas and our residents access to education, cultural and leisure services too.
“We are firmly on the side of residents and despite years of funding cuts, we have launched two new subsidised services to employment, retail, educational and medical locations across our borough to help support residents during the national cost of living crisis with two more due imminently.
“Operators continue to withdraw services while those that remain are often overcrowded, late, or worse, cancelled at peak times. This has a huge impact on residents who rely on these services to get to work, school and vital medical appointments.
“We are committed to providing a well-connected and affordable bus network.”
Not only does this contribute to reducing carbon emissions, pollution and congestion, but for many affordable buses are crucial as the ongoing cost-of-living crisis continues.
Councillor Lee Carter, cabinet member for neighbourhood services, regeneration and the high street, who seconded the motion, said: “We will be writing to Mark Harper, the Secretary of state for Transport, to ask him to support our calls to return the control of the local bus network to councils, and to do so without any current preconditions such as having an elected mayor.
“We know that the borough and its residents need a better bus network that works for them.”